SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

Croning : The Ritual


Merry meet!

This month is the fifth of a six-part series on croning – a feminine rite-of-passage ritual for those reclaiming the power and wisdom of the old woman, the crone.

Below is the croning ritual that was used last Mabon on the first night of our weekend retreat for a group of Goddesswomen from three states known as Ladys of the Lake (Yes! Ladys … because

ladies was taken.) It was written and led by three dear sisters, all crones themselves. About 19 in all were present, including sisters who had not circled with us before. As part of the first night’s ritual, I was croned. The next evening, I had a chance to speak.

Following my ritual is that of my dear friend, Leandra. Hers was written by Christopher Penczak with whom she had studied at the Temple of Witchcraft in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

The song that is used in both rituals was written for Leandra by her dear friend, Kellianna,

I hope they will give you ideas of things you like – and just as

importantly, things you would not want – for your ritual.

If you have any questions, or details you’d like to know, please

express them and I will respond in the next column.

Merry part. And merry meet again.



Before Ritual starts:

Lynn is “banished” to her room, accompanied by a Maiden, to spend time in solitude and reflection. The Maiden will rejoin the group and Diane will

distribute and explain the amethysts.

Women are reminded to pick up an instrument if they do not have their own, and also to have their apples ready.

Priscilla will speak about the Crone, Crone Cave, Council of Crones (briefly!) Four decorated chairs will be placed in the North. In deference to the Crone, we will proceed into the ritual area in roughly age order – meaning Priscilla, Leandra and Diane will enter, followed by everyone else as they see fit.

The Maiden(s) doing the smudging will ask, “How do you enter?” and be

answered, “In perfect love and perfect trust.”

The Maiden will go get Lynn and accompany her downstairs where she will take her place in the line to enter.

Another Maiden will smudge the room, moving in a clockwise direction,

returning to a position by the door and to smudge as each woman front

and back as she enters the ritual area.

High Priestess Leandra: And so we gather for another Mabon retreat of Goddesswomen. Take a moment to get there. Let us attune ourselves to the same vibration. (Ring chime three times.) Feel the surroundings. Sense the energy that is present. Become aware of your breath, and of the breath of the women next to you.

Tonight we will cast a circle to bring our energies into alignment and create a sacred space between the worlds. The circle is a container made of

elemental, psychic and sacred energies that holds magical energy. It’s our temple where we will make magic this weekend.

One by one, we will cast the circle, hand to heart. Look at your hands and point both of your thumbs to the left. I will begin and we’ll move clockwise around the circle.

With your left hand, take the right hand of the woman next to you and bring it to your heart as you say: “Hand to hand, heart to heart, I cast the circle.”


High Priestess Priscilla: And now, close your eyes and in your mind’s eye, see the circle as a living, shimmering line of blue white light. Push it

outwards; help the circle expand and grow to surround this whole room, the whole house, the grounds, creating a safe container for our magick.

The circle is cast. We are between the worlds. May all that we do this

weekend be for the good of all beings everywhere, without exception.


High Priestess Leandra: Let us will sing

There Is No Time” by Veronica Appalonia three times:

There is no time but now

There is no place but here

In the sacred we do stand

In a circle hand in hand.


High Priestess Diane: Let’s start by putting our names into the circle. A way that I was taught was to list the women you descend from. (I am Diane, daughter of ______, granddaughter of ________.)

High Priestess Priscilla: Now let’s go around again and put into the circle the names of those who are with us in spirit, those we bring here with us, those we honor, heal and bless.

High Priestess Leandra: Let us anoint one another. (With oil – draw a spiral

on the forehead of the woman to her left, speak, then pass along the oil.) May this protect you from all harmful and unwanted energies. Blessed be.

(Anointing goes around the circle.)


High Priestess Priscilla: Next we’ll call the Elements. Some traditionally begin in the east, others the north. But, because this is Mabon and the equinox, and because west is the direction for fall, and this is the start of the quarter of the year associated with water, we will start by calling west first tonight.

Calling West will be Morrigan. (Morrigan speaks and lights the Blue candle.)

All: Welcome Water

Calling North will be Taneka. (Taneka speaks and lights the Green candle.)

All: Welcome Earth

Calling East will be Debra. (Debra speaks and lights the Yellow candle.)

All: Welcome Air

Calling South will be Janet Silverdragon. (Janet speaks and lights the Red candle.)

All: Welcome Fire

Calling Center will be Kathy. (Kathy speaks and lights the Center candle

All: Welcome Spirit

High Priestess Diane: (Mix salt into water using whatever words she prefers. Sprinkle each woman with a few drops of the salt water, saying, “Thou art Goddess.”)

High Priestess Priscilla: Monday will mark the autumn equinox. For a moment, day and night are equal. After that, we enter the dark half of the year, the time of darkness when the Crone rules, when we claim our power during the long nights.

High Priestess Diane calls Hecate.

All: Welcome, Hecate.

High Priestess Leandra calls Erishkegal.

All: Welcome, Erishkegal.

High Priestess Priscilla calls Baba Yaga.

All: Welcome, Baba Yaga.

High Priestess Leandra: We will now read together

The Charge of the Goddess

(Traditional by Doreen Valiente, as adapted by Starhawk)

Listen to the words of the Great Mother, Who of old was called Artemis,

Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arionrhod, Brigid,

and by many other names:

Whenever you have need of anything, once a month, and better it be when the moon is full, you shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me Who is Queen of all the Wise.

You shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that you be free you shall be

naked in your rites.

Sing, feast, dance, make music and love, all in My Presence, for Mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and Mine also is joy on earth; For My law is love is unto all beings.

Mine is the secret that opens the door of youth, and Mine is the cup of wine of life that is the cauldron of Cerridwen, that is the holy grail of immortality.

I am the gracious Goddess. I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal, and beyond death I give peace and freedom and reunion with those that have gone before.

Nor do I demand sacrifice, for behold, I am the Mother of all things and My love is poured out upon the earth.

Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of Whose feet are the hosts of Heaven, whose body encircles the universe:

I Who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters,

I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.

For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.

From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.

Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.

For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am That which is attained at the end of desire.

High Priestess Diane: Blessed Be.

All: Blessed be.

High Priestess Priscilla: Please be seated. Lynn, please stand. Are you ready to cross the threshold, take your place in the Council of Crones?

Lynn: I am.

High Priestess Priscilla: Do you bring a Goddess ally?

Lynn: I do.

High Priestess Priscilla: Please call your ally now.

Lynn: I call the Norns.

All: Welcome, Norns.

High Priestess Priscilla: Your sisters bestow on you this shawl, symbol of your hard-earned wisdom.

Lynn takes her seat between HP Diane and HP Leandra who wrap her in her shawl.

High Priestess Priscilla: We present you with this crone staff.

High Priestess Diane: We present you with this crown.

High Priestess Leandra: And now Marcy will lead us in singing “She Is Crone”

She Is Crone

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She stirs the cauldron of all knowledge.

She is the bringer of death and rebirth.

She stirs the cauldron of all knowledge.

She is the bringer of death and rebirth.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

In the darkness the time of Samhain,

In the dreamtime she sits and stirs.

In the darkness the time of Samhain,

In the dreamtime she sits and stirs, sits and stirs.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She will lead you to your dark mind

And at the crossroads she’ll be your guide.

She will lead you to your dark mind

And at the crossroads she’ll be your guide.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She is teacher and experience.

She is wisdom. She is Crone.

She is Crone. She is Crone. She is Crone. REPEAT

At the crossroads, with the cauldron

of all knowledge, she sits and stirs.

At the crossroads, with the cauldron

of all knowledge, she sits and stirs, sits and stirs.

She is Crone. She is Crone. She is Crone.

She is Crone …

High Priestess Priscilla: The earth is ripe with the bounty of the second

harvest, the harvest of fruit and wine. Our blessings are many. Two seasons of growth have led to this abundance. There may never be more than there

is now. This is a season for celebrating the plenty that work and time have wrought. It is a season for feasting with sisters.

Tomorrow, we will prepare a feast to nourish our bodies as well as our

spirits. Our cooking will express our love and devotion. It is our ritual and our deep magic.

Among the foods we will make is applesauce. Each of you has brought an apple or two. The Maidens will collect them now. Apples are a traditional fruit of Mabon. They are a symbol of the harvest season and have long been associated with magic and wisdom. The collected apples will be placed under the altar, to be taken to the kitchen tomorrow. Volunteers to assist Lynn, our traditional applesauce maker, will be welcome!

And now, let us raise a little energy to celebrate being here, now, together.

(Women take up instruments, drum and dance riotously.) Send off energy. Ground.

High Priestess Priscilla: This is the time for announcements …

(Pass the talking stick.)

Now we are free to do as we wish for the rest of the evening.


At the Start of the Feast

High Priestess Diane: I want to thank each of you for the role you played in this sacred ritual – the creation of the feast to celebrate the second harvest.

Raises the little bowl with a spoonful of applesauce and says, “This applesauce, made from all our apples, represents our magic of our gathering this weekend. May you never hunger.”

All: Nor you.

Linda: Raises her glass and says, “We can thirst for many things: love,

comfort, wisdom, the waters of life, more time. May you never thirst.”

All: Nor you.


After the Feast

Diane: We will now have some time to prepare for the evening’s ritual. When you hear the gong, you will have 10 minutes to gather at the foot of the stairs.

Gather in the Circle

High Priestess Leandra: (A greeting.)

The meal was in celebration of the second harvest. Tonight’s work will reflect the fact Monday is the equinox.

The Goddess moves into her crone phase as the nights begin to get longer. This begins the most powerful time of the year – the dark time, when the moon shines longer. Days grow short. There are limits and endings. The veil between this world and the next begins to grow thin. The crone knows that she will not escape this life alive. She embraces it, moment by moment by moment. Rituals of grieving are appropriate now, as well as anticipating the rebirth and joy that will come.

High Priestess Priscilla: Talks about the role of the crone. (Brownie analogy)

The Crone has many stories. Sometimes her story has become distorted, as she is shown as the ugly hag, the scary witch to scare children into good behavior. One of our tasks is to dispel the damage of the Patriarchy. We will share some of those stories now.

Diane: Hecate

Leandra: Erishkegal

Priscilla: Baba Yaga

Lynn: the Norns

High Priestess Priscilla: Going around the room, each person can speak about what she hopes will manifest in her when she reaches cronehood. Crones can look back or add wisdom as they wish.

High Priestess Diane: Now we will pass the taking stick. If you would like, you may take this opportunity to share something for which you are grateful, that which you have harvested, or that for which you mourn. If you do not wish to speak, simply pass the stick to the woman on your left.

High Priestess Lynn: I have some gifts I’d like to present. (flower essences, wisdom scrolls, Strega and cookies of the ancestors.)

High Priestess Priscilla: Let us make noise! Let us move and dance! Let us song Baba Yaga’s song, also known as Hymn to the Russian Earth, a Song for Peace!

If the people lived their lives, as

If it were a song, for singing out a light…

Provide some music for the stars to be

Dancing circles in the night.



(There was a third part: Sunday’s closing. If you would like to know more,

I would be happy to share it with you personally.)


Now, here is another croning ceremony.

Leandra’s Croning Ceremony

Christopher: Altar Set Up, chalice, potion, oil, tools, candles

Leandra: Crown, Altar Cloth and Physical Altar

Cleansing and Clearing the Space

Smudging People and Place

Asperging Place with Salt and Water

Casting of the Circle

We cast this circle of the art to bind all forces that are not in harmony with our working and conjure forth all spirits of blessings and love.

We cast this circle to create a space beyond space and a time beyond time, a temple of Perfect Love and Perfect Trust

We cast this circle as temple where the highest will is sovereign.

So mote it be.

Calling of the Quarters

To the North,

We call upon the element of Earth

We call upon the Stag

To bring the blessings of Health and Strength

Hail and welcome.

To the East

We call upon the element of Fire

We call upon the Lion

To bring the blessings of Courage and Power

Hail and welcome.

To the South

We call upon the element of Air

We call upon the Eagle

To bring the blessings of Knowledge and Wisdom

Hail and welcome

To the West,

We call upon the element of Water

We call upon the Dolphin

To bring the blessings of Love and Peace

Hail and welcome.

Evocation of the Gods

We call upon the Two who move as one in the love of the Great Spirit, the Goddess and the God. We call upon the Great Mother Goddess and the Holy Father God to bless this passage.

Hail and welcome.

From the lands of the Nile, we call upon the Goddess Hathor

Hathor, Goddess of Love, Dance and Joy

Hathor, Cow Headed Mistress of the West

Hathor, Lady of Dendera and the House of Jubilation

We call to you. Please be present in our rite.

Hail and welcome.

We call all spirits who come in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Hail and welcome.


We gather together on this eve to honor our friend and loved one

Leandra Walker

To mark the passage into her the autumn of life as she embraces the

figure of the Crone as her own life guide and teacher. Croning for women, or Saging for men, is a rite of passage, marking the change in life to chronological elderhood in our community. Our elders are

embraced and respected for their experience of life, both in and out of our magickal communities. We gather together today to declare

Leandra’s cronehood, before each other, the Gods and the world.


I bless you with this sacred oil.

May you always be protection and nurtured upon the path of life.


Kellianna sings “She is Crone”

Chalice of Wisdom Sacrament

The Chalice, the Grail, the Cauldron

All symbols of the Goddess’ Power of life and death

And brewed within this sacred vessel is the Elixir of Inspiration,

Immortality and Wisdom.

Though our rites brew strange potions of sacred herbs, the true Grail

is found within, and the true elixir is within our life force.

As Leandra drinks this brew, may the life force be kindled within her, and may the Goddess grant the key and open the gate to Immortality,

Inspiration and Wisdom.


Community Sharing

Community members who have been asked to speak will take this time to offer story and praise of Leandra and her rise to cronehood.




Sharing and Gratitude

Leandra will take this time to share and

offer gratitude to the community.

Community Chant

I Walk with the Goddess”

Lead by Kellianna

I walk with the Goddess

The Goddess she walks with me

She is the clouds up in the clear blue sky

She is the ground beneath my feet

She is the oceans and the falling rain

She is the spark that lights my way

Crowning of Leandra

In the name of the Goddess, God and Great Spirit

With the blessings of Hathor

And all those spirits, incarnate and excarnate, gathered here today

We crown Leandra with the fire of Autumn Leaves.

May she, like the Trees of the Forest, continue to grow wise

in balance with the Earth and Sky.

Proclamation of Leandra’s Cronehood

We proclaim Leandra Walker as crone, as an elder in our community. Many blessings to her on the path of life.

Devocation of the Deities

We thank and release the Two who move as one in the love of the Great Spirit, the Goddess and the God. We thanks the Great Mother Goddess and the Holy Father God

Hail and farewell.

We thank the Lady of the Nile

The Mistress of Jubilation

The Goddess Hathor

Hail and farewell.

We thank and release all spirits who come in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Hail and farewell.

Releasing of the Quarters

To the North

We thank and release the element of earth

And we thank and release the Stag

Thank you for the continued blessings of Health and Strength

Hail and Farewell

To the West

We thank and release the element of water

And we thank and release the Dolphin

Thank you for the continued blessings of Love and Peace

Hail and Farewell

To the South

We thank and release the element of air

And we thank and release the Eagle

Thank you for the continued blessings of Knowledge and Wisdom

Hail and farewell.

To the East

We thank and release the element of fire

And we thank and release the Lion

Thank you for the continued blessings of Courage and Power

Hail and farewell.

Releasing the Circle

We cast this circle of celebration out across the cosmos to announce this rite of passage

The circle is open but never broken

May the peace of the Goddess be ever in your heart

Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again.